Those who work in medicine know that health is wellness.
Those who seek preventive medicine know that health is maintaining wellness.
And those who seek interventional medicine know that health is a return to wellness.
So if wellness is the common goal among practitioners and patients, why does wellness seem so elusive and complex?
Maybe it’s the word itself. When unpacked, wellness is laden with mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health.
That’s a lot for any business as it considers creating a wellness program. But with the right partners, wellness can become a sustainable initiative for any company that wants to stay healthy and keep employees well.
Here are a few areas to consider:
• Nutrition: Monitoring calories, portion size and food variety is essential to wellness.
Having a nutritionist visit for regular lunch-and-learns can help employees assess food choices and offer ways to create a better balance. Team potlucks with new ingredients could help expand the menu. And weight-loss programs often help
• Activity: Activity should become a cultural value at the workplace.
Sure, you could offer gym subsidies or sponsor a local 5K. But more simply, you could do group yoga at lunch or schedule walking meetings.
Engagement is the key, so don’t think activities have to be exercise. It could be a knitting circle — anything to help employees maintain a commitment.
• Vaccines: Flu shots can go a long way at keeping your staff healthy. And they are readily available, but many health entities, such as Easton Hospital, can offer vaccinations at good rates and can come right to your workplace.
• Screenings: At certain ages, regular screenings become a part of all employees’ lives.
Prostate checks, mammograms and colorectal exams are not usually appointments that employees are eager to make. So encourage them to do so. Early detection is a beautiful thing.
• Numbers: It’s important for employees to know their biometric baselines: blood work, body mass index, blood pressure, blood glucose levels – all should be standards at your office place.
• Cessation programs: Quitting tobacco can be very difficult, but the list of health benefits is a mile long. So, have counselors come in to help those who are ready to quit.
• Education: Information when combined with incentive can move mountains. But getting reliable information can be tricky.
So, get a wide array of professionals inside your business to offer programs. Most health systems, including at Easton Hospital, have a speaker’s bureau so you can get experts on specific topics.
• EAP: Employee Assistance Programs can assist employees and their families with a mental and emotional outlet when times are tough.
Think of the employees you know who are new empty-nesters, recently divorced, in debt, have troubled teens or sick parents. They may need someone to talk with in order to stay focused at work.
• Chaplains: Patients often seek spiritual assistance while at the hospital. It’s just a given.
But what role does the spirit play in your workplace outside of Secret Santa? It can be important to find ways to support the faiths and beliefs of all employees.
Real wellness is holistic. While you don’t have to address all of these areas at once, it’s important to choose what will help your teams the most and what your business can sustain.
Because wellness can be contagious. When employees know that you believe in them enough and support them with good programs and health partners, they will strive to stay well. And your business will be the apple of everyone’s eye.
With an administrative health care career spanning more than 30 years, John Zidansek is interim CEO at Easton Hospital.